Voss Named La Cañadan of the Year

Donald Voss sought to share the La Cañadan of the Year honor bestowed on him with the people giving it at Wednesday’s meeting of the Kiwanis Noon club.
Voss told the 105 members and guests gathered at Descanso Gardens’ Van de Kamp Hall to celebrate him that the award was a reflection of all of them.
Citing Robert Baden-Powell, he recited the famous quote: “Try to leave this world a little better than you found it,” adding, “that every year we celebrate La Cañadan of the Year and the Les Tupper Award winners is a manifestation of that philosophy. Each of us hopes that in some modest measure, we achieve that goal.”
Voss was not especially volunteer-minded when he moved to LCF 30 years ago, attracted by the strong reputation of the school system.
“For quite a while, I thought of this community in a positive, narrow way,” Voss said. “A great place to live, with great schools, safe, with a wonderful quality of life — oh, let’s not forget the Original Pepe’s.”
But then he volunteered for the first time with the San Gabriel Chapter of the Red Cross, and every fellow volunteer he met shared the desire to help people and improve things. It was, Voss said, “a revelation.”
He was appointed the city’s treasurer in 2001 and in 2006 joined the City Council. He served as mayor from 2010-2012.
In between music trivia questions, all of which Voss aced, City Manager Mark Alexander reflected on his experiences working with, and then for, the honoree.
“What most impressed me was his reasoned approach to all matters,” Alexander said. “He placed the highest priority on fairness and openness and governed with empathy.”
Alexander also listed some highlights of Voss’ time in office, including his work opposing the proposed 710 Tunnel and promoting the city’s trails.
Alexander reminded the audience that Voss also was an advocate for appreciating the city’s history as a proponent of the Mills Act and the Lanterman House and said his banker’s expertise was invaluable during the city’s sewer assessment project, the largest capital infrastructure project in city history at more than $27 million.
Voss’ other public service contributions included work with the Consortium of Los Angeles County Chapters and La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation Endowment Fund. And his previous honors include the Roy E. Reynolds Memorial and El Gran Matador Awards by the California Contract Cities Association, as well as the Les Tupper Community Service Award.
Lynn DeGroot Voss characterized her husband as “a quintessential Renaissance man, a dedicated public servant and an amazing artist.”
Voss is a photography buff and a doodler, she said, holding aloft a sketch of Fred Flintstone. “I just want you to know, if you find this on any of your placemats, you’ll know Don was there.”
There, leaving things a little better than he found it.

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